Types of Toxic Exposure

The North Carolina toxic exposure attorneys at Henson Fuerst suggest that the best way to protect yourself and your family from toxic exposure is to become aware of common dangers and learn how to avoid them at work and in the home. The following are common sources of toxic exposure:

  • Asbestos
    A common fire-resistant element found in older building materials and various other products that can cause serious damage to your health.
  • Contaminated Drinking Water
    Whether by industrial waste, sewage, or other pathogens, consumption of contaminated drinking water can lead to chronic illness or injury.
  • Duke Hydraulic Fluid
    When hydraulic fluid was confused with sterilization detergent at Duke University Health System, more than 4,000 patients were impacted.
  • Silica
    A common rock mineral, which can cause the permanent lung disease called silicosis.

Household Product Hazards

Many household products contain toxins that can be hazardous to your health if inhaled, ingested, or absorbed through the skin. If you have children, instruct them to avoid using these products without supervision:

  • Drain cleaners
  • Lead-based paints
  • Oven cleaners
  • Pain relievers
  • Pesticides

If you have a toxic emergency, contact the Carolinas Poison Center and seek medical help immediately.

Contaminated Water

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Safe Water Drinking Act of 1974 regulates only 91 of the 60,000 toxins used in the United States each year.

When you turn on the faucet, you assume the water is safe. But contaminated water can contain microscopic toxins that cause illness, cancer, birth defects, and chronic disease.

Water can become contaminated by industrial waste, sewage, pathogens, and pollution. Natural disasters such as floods or hurricanes can also contaminate drinking water with surrounding waste.

If you suffer from an illness or injury caused by contaminated water, call our North Carolina toxic exposure lawyers at (919) 781-1107 or complete a free initial consultation form today. We can help you get the compensation you need for medical bills, lost wages, and other illness-related expenses.

Camp Lejuene Water Contamination Scandal

Marine Corps base, Camp Lejuene, in North Carolina has been under scrutiny for the largest contaminated water scandal in the history of the United States. The military base has admittedly dumped toxic waste into the ground for decades, contaminating the drinking water for an estimated one million people. When the contamination was first discovered, little effort was made to notify past residents and affected families in order to correct the dangerous issue.

Many people have contracted chronic illnesses and injuries as a result of consuming the contaminated water over a period of time. An Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) survey on a group of pregnant women exposed to the contaminated water at Camp Lejuene revealed 106 cases of cancer and birth defects believed to be caused by the toxins.

In one instance, retired Marine Master Sergeant Jerry Ensminger lost a daughter to childhood Leukemia at the age of nine. Her form of Leukemia has since been linked to benzene, one of the many toxins found during testing at the camp site. Ensiminger now travels the country promoting his award-winning documentary about the contamination scandal entitled Semper Fi: Always Faithful.

The ATSDR is currently conducting further research on the issue. The final results aren’t expected to be released until 2014—29 years after the scandal was first revealed.

If you worked or lived at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, between 1975 and 1985, and suffer from a chronic illness or cancer, you may be eligible to receive compensation for medical bills and other illness-related expenses. Contact us by filing out a free initial consultation form today.

Duke Hydraulic Fluid

Our North Carolina toxic exposure attorneys were at the forefront of a Duke University Health System toxic exposure case in 2005 which affected more than 4,000 patients.

The issue began when an elevator company poured dirty hydraulic fluid into several empty detergent barrels while performing elevator maintenance. The barrels of toxic hydraulic fluid were then confused with sterilization detergent.

For almost two months, instruments were “washed” with a solution of hot water and dirty hydraulic fluid. Hospital staff and surgeons noticed their operating tools were slick and oily, but it was several weeks before the source of the problem was discovered.

As a result of the contaminated tools, some surgery patients experienced serious symptoms, such as postoperative infection and long-term autoimmune disorders.

Our North Carolina toxic exposure lawyers resolved all claims to date against Duke University Health System, its constituent hospitals, and other defendants outside of court. This is just one example of the types of toxic exposure cases Henson Fuerst has helped resolve.


Silica is a common mineral found in rock, sand, and quartz. When silica crystalizes into dust and is inhaled, it scars the lungs and causes a permanent inflammation, making it hard to breathe. This condition is known as silicosis. There are three different types of silicosis:

  • Chronic Silicosis
    Chronic silicosis is caused by damage to lung tissue that happens slowly over time, usually after 10 years of limited exposure.
  • Accelerated Silicosis
    In accelerated silicosis, symptoms develop faster than in chronic silicosis—five to 10 years—due to increased silica exposure.
  • Acute Silicosis
    Acute silicosis is the most serious form of silicosis, which can quickly lead to death. This condition causes the lungs to fill with fluid and can cause blood oxygen levels to drop.

You may also have an increased risk of other health complications, such as tuberculosis and respiratory failure, if you suffer from silicosis.

If you have silicosis, call our North Carolina toxic exposure lawyers at (919) 781-1107 or complete a free initial consultation form today. You may be entitled to receive compensation to help pay for medical bills, lost wages, and other illness-related expenses.

Who Is at Risk of Developing Silicosis?

According to the American Lung Association, you’re at risk for developing silicosis if your profession involves:

  • Abrasive Blasting
  • Concrete Finishing
  • Construction and Repair
  • Drywall Finishing
  • Masonry Work
  • Mining
  • Rock Drilling or Crushing
  • Sand and Gravel Screening

The NIOSH recommends a medical exam every three years that includes a chest X-Ray, lung function test, and complete work history questionnaire for workers employed in these industries. Follow these other steps from NIOSH to help prevent silicosis.

Injured? We Can Help.

If you think your injury might be the result of toxic exposure, contact the North Carolina toxic injury lawyers at Henson Fuerst today. For more than 30 years, we have served injured victims throughout North Carolina. Call us 24/7 at (919) 781-1107 or complete a free initial consultation form now.

Toxic exposure cases can be difficult to prove without the help of an experienced North Carolina toxic injury attorney on your side. Henson Fuerst will investigate every detail of your situation and fight hard to secure the full and fair compensation you deserve for your injuries.

Location Icon

Raleigh Office

3110 Edwards Mill Rd # 100,
Raleigh, NC 27612
P (919) 781-1107
F (919) 781-8048

Rocky Mount Office

2317 Sunset Ave,
Rocky Mount, NC 27804
P (252) 443-2111
F (252) 443-9429
Scroll to Top